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This camera in Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds series is highly desirable from a number of angles, not least of which is the touch screen system. And you can buy it in three body colours: black, red and blue
The test camera was supplied with the f3.5/14-42mm kit zoom lens, an average and quite useful optic for everyday use.
Size: the maximum image size is 4000×3000 pixels, from which you can make a 34x25cm print.
Movies: the maximum size is a disappointing 1280×720 pixels, recorded in AVCHD format; smaller movie resolutions are captured in Motion JPEG. There is an onboard microphone and you can connect an (advisable) external one into a tiny input at the camera’s top left corner. One plus is that you can shoot stills while shooting video and frames can be ‘pulled’ from the video after shooting.
The G2 is compact, possessing a similar size to many super zoom fixed lens compacts. This model has Panasonic’s touch screen, one of the features that I figure will win many followers in the coming months.
I had occasion to use the vari-angle 7.5cm LCD touch screen before I had gone very far with the G2: starting off by shooting my regular ISO tests I found the shot series was underexposed. The manual was a bit ‘blurry’ about this, so I started tapping the screen and quickly found that a previous reviewer had dialled in a 1.3 stop underexposure setting. No probs: I simply called up the screen and fiddled with the on screen ‘exposure meter. Impressed.
With the touch screen you can adjust aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation by a simple slide of a finger over the screen (a finger nail is best, because it is a pressure sensitive screen). In replay you can easily select shots or change size in similar fashion.
There is of course Live View and you can use Full Time Live View to compose a shot and check your settings.
There are four AF functions: touch the screen and AF tracks the subject as it moves; a single area, changeable in size, AF lets select an area in frame to direct the focus point, face detection; multi area with 23 AF areas and nine groups.
Before I had seriously investigated the manual (typical you say!), I was a bit befuddled by the lack of a focus switch on the lens to switch from auto to manual. Then the light came on and I found a tiny lever, top left of camera, which gave me the option of single shot focus, continuous focus or manual. Using the later I then could roll the lens’ focus ring to my heart’s content!
The optical image stabiliser has four modes: off; always on; only when the shutter button is pressed; correction for up/down movement (during panning).
My Colour Mode: for some this is an easy way to making ‘art’ images … others will decry it! You can choose from an elegant look, mono, silhouette and four others plus a custom mode which gives you direct control over your twists and turns.
There is also Film Mode which lets you choose from dynamic colour, smooth colour and a number of other variations that emulate the look of various film types. For me, this retro approach is useless: who, apart from pros, can seriously distinguish (and remember!) the image quality of films made by Fujifilm, Kodak, Agfa etc?
There are also 26 scene modes: sunset, party, pets … I’m sure you know the list. An interesting one is Peripheral Defocus mode: the G2 focuses on the selected AF areas while gently blurring (defocusing) the foreground and background; this takes place without the usual aperture fiddling.
With the Full-time Live View function, you can see how these settings will change the look the shots before you shoot.
It was ISO 800 when noise became visible in plain areas of tone. By ISO 6400 — forget it!
Quality: easy to use, I could catch some nice quality pictures. Good and sharp too. Nice tonal range.
Why you would buy it: you need a small, interchangeable lens camera.
Why you wouldn’t: if you want Full HD (1920×1080) look elsewhere … like Panasonic’s GF2 and others!
One thing which annoyed me was the location of the card slot: under the camera, instead of at the side. So, when the camera is tripod-mounted, you have to remove it to unload cards!
Image Sensor: 12.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multiple, centre-weighted and spot.
Effective Sensor Size: 17.3×13.0mm Live MOS. Lens Factor: 2x. Compatible lenses: Micro Four Thirds.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: Bulb, 60 to 1/4000 second. Flash sync: 1/160 sec.
Burst Speed: 2, 2.6 (both with Live View), 3.2 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (Class 6 for movie shooting)(.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4000×3000 to 1504×1504. Movies: 1280×720 (AVCHD Lite), 848×480, 640×480, 320×240 (all Motion JPEG) at 30fps.
Viewfinders: Turret (1,440,000) 7.5cm LCD screen (460,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, AVCHD Lite/QuickTime Motion JPEG.
Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 1600 to 6400.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, stereo mic input, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 124×83.6×74 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 593 (inc body, 14-42mm lens, card and battery).
Prices: Get a price on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 12.1 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 MEGA OIS Lens.